PRICES lifted significantly at the monthly Warrnambool store cattle sale on Friday.
Agents yarded 2544 head, made up of 1327 steers, 814 unjoined heifers, 398 calved and springing cows and heifers and eight bulls.
Demand for steers and unjoined heifers was much keener than expected, with steers selling fully 10 cents a kilogram dearer and in some instances up to 15c/kg more than the previous month's sale.
Unjoined heifers sold from firm to 5c/kg dearer, a trend that was in stark contrast to results reported from other regional sales of the previous week.
However, the large number of springing and calved females, including a major Hereford herd dispersal, met with subdued bidding.
Steers 400-480kg ranged from 163-180c/kg for a top of $802 per head, with most selling from 167-175c/kg.
Those weighing 350 to 399kg brought 169-186c/kg to make a top of $706 per head, most selling from 174-181c/kg.
Lighter steers of 280 to 345kg fetched 173-188c/kg to top at $646 per head, most making 177-184c/kg.
A draft of 18 Angus and black baldy unjoined heifers weighing 403.3kg brought 158c/kg or $637 per head.
Most of the heavy heifers over 340kg sold from 147-158c/kg, with an isolated sale at 167c/kg, while lighter weights fetched 134-158c/kg.
The steers buyers were mainly feedlot operators from Charlton, Horsham and Dunkeld, with strong backup from agents from Naracoorte, Penola and Mt Gambier, as well as South Gippsland and Euroa restockers and north-east Victorian purchasers.
Local area restocker purchases were limited in the steer and heifer sections.
Cows with calves sold to a top of $930 per head for C&C Elligates.
Seven Angus cows with late January-February drop Angus-Limousin calves sold to a P&L Livestock client.
The same vendor sold another eight Angus-Friesian cows for $880 to a Stewart Nash McVilly client of Camperdown.
The dispersal of Hereford females on account of the Dickson family of Caramut made a top of $790 per head for 16 heifers with 16 spring-drop Hereford calves at-foot and tested in-calf to Hereford bulls for August calving.
These also sold to a P&L Livestock client.
Other cow and calf units generally sold from $550-$820, most in the range of $650-$770.